November 10, 2009

In Which Aldhein Scares Himself

August 13, 1163

"It's all right, baby," Florian's wife soothed the infant as her husband trudged inside, Aldhein and the rather intoxicated girl in tow. "Papa's home--finally," she added, sending a glare Florian's way.

Florian shrugged. "Well, it's not like I could have made it back here any faster, with these two drunken louts slowing me down and all."

As he stepped into the house, Aldhein exchanged a quick glance with Thetis. He, for one, was not a 'drunken lout', and after more than one occasion of him dragging home a thoroughly inebriated Florian and then helping Thetis lift him onto the bed before he headed on his way, she was well aware of that. He wasn't sure exactly what the woman thought of him--after the whole thing with the queen, he wasn't exactly sure what anyone thought of him--but at least he knew that she understood that even though he was a cad and a home wrecker and about a thousand other things along similar lines, he was not a drunken lout.

His father had been a drunken lout without being a thousand other things--in fact, without being even ten other things. As such, Aldhein had barely touched the stuff in his life. Though Florian and Falidor and everyone else gave him hell for it, after a lifetime of having seen what a state of perpetual drunkenness could make a man, he was barely even tempted; besides, he realized that he was unpleasant enough sober.

Regardless, the girl had drunk enough for the both of them. Frankly, Aldhein was surprised that she was still standing; perhaps if Florian hadn't been mildly drunk himself, he might have stepped between her and his wife and child.

"Awww, he's so cute!" she cooed without inhibition, the boy's eyes widening at the sight of him. "What's his name?"

"Podrag," answered Thetis, "but we call him Dragon."

"Why?"

Florian rolled his eyes. "Because Podrag is a stupid name."

Thetis sighed. "It was your father's name."

"Doesn't make it any less stupid."

Aldhein pointed his eyes to the wall straight ahead of him. He had no particular desire to look at any of them--grudgingly happy Florian, glowing Thetis and her three-month-old son, pretty, fresh-faced young Alsina after her first time sneaking out of her brother's house and to an inn in the next shire. The contentment... the sheer satisfaction with life despite all past hardships... it was almost unbearable. If it hadn't been so late, he might have turned himself right around and gone all the way back to the castle at Armion, back to his daughter and whatever hussy had crawled into his bed for the night.

"You know, for a fourteen-year-old girl, she really can hold her liquor," Florian mused as Alsina continued to talk nonsense to the baby. "I've seen grown men more moronic on half the amount she had tonight--yourself included."

Aldhein sniffed. "I don't think I've had half that amount in my life, let alone in a single night."

"Oh right! You don't drink--you only impregnate married queens."

Somehow, Aldhein suspected that Florian had only started the whole conversation for the chance to say that. "She's not the queen anymore," he muttered.

"Shame--the current queen is prettier, I daresay," ventured Florian, seemingly oblivious to the fact that his wife was standing three feet away from him. "Then again, I imagine the former queen was up for some wilder stuff in the sack. Maybe you should try for the next in the series and let me know how that goes."

Aldhein shifted uncomfortably; he hadn't been sentenced to death the first time, but he imagined he might be if he pulled that sort of stunt again. He still couldn't figure out just what he'd been thinking, fucking the queen. "I'd rather not..."

"Fair enough. Now that I think about it, foreplay with Queen Laralita would be hell; probably the best way to get her in the mood is to fool around on top of a mound of coins, and we all know that those have a tendency to get wedged in awkward places."

How in the eternal fires of hell had such a tactless fellow managed to land a woman like Thetis? If Aldhein had been at all used to things making sense, he might have questioned this.

Doubting his own possession of the emotional capacity to deal with a Florian who had had a few drinks, he shifted his attention to Alsina. A few hours after meeting her, he still found it difficult to believe that she was Falidor and Nora's little sister, with her inkblot eyes and the reddest hair he had ever seen. Hell, the duchess had dresses that were not so red; he himself had blood that was not so red. If he were to touch her hair, his hand would probably burst into flames.

...God. That even sounded stupid in his head. It was a good thing that she was too far above his station for him to try to pick up, for he doubted he would have had any success. The sight of her rendered him incoherent; he felt drunk just looking at her. Awkward and embarrassed, he brushed past Thetis and set himself down on the couch... only to be joined by Florian.

"So... how was Geneva?"

Aldhein choked. "What?"

"What, you think you can bump uglies with a woman like that and not boast about it?"

"That was six years ago!"

"So? I'm sure she did something that was memorable. Oh well... I guess what's in the past is in the past, right? Especially when you've got a new Lady Love now."

Aldhein's eyes bulged. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Grinning devilishly, Florian jerked his head in Alsina's direction. "When we were at the inn, she couldn't keep her eyes off your ass."

He could almost hear the crickets chirping. "...You're kidding me."

Florian laughed. "I'm serious! I even counted the glances!"

"How many, then?"

"I forget."

Figured.

"I'm telling you, she wants you," Florian insisted, "and you can't deny that she's a pretty little thing. I think you should go for it--God knows you've been alone long enough."

Rather uncomfortable, Aldhein bit his lip. "She's half my age!"

"So? Sixteen years ago, Thetis was half my age."

"You didn't know each other--and you were twelve!"

"And your point is...?"

"What are you two girls talking about?"

Somehow, in the time he had been talking to Florian, Alsina had materialized beside the couch, now wearing nothing but a tortuously translucent nightgown and a smile. His blood boiled in his veins; if there was a God, he was simultaneously kind and cruel.

"Where did your dress go?" he gasped in horror, trying to figure out why he couldn't keep his eyes off her.

"Oh, Thetis lent me a nightgown," she explained casually, as though she had no idea that it was likely the most barely-there nightgown she had ever worn in her life. "She said I could sleep in the spare room upstairs, and you can sleep on the couch, and then tomorrow you can take me home to my brother's house."

Great--he would deliver a pretty young girl he had met at an inn to her older brother the next morning. He might as well have gone up to an executioner and announced his own death sentence.

"And I'll be sleeping in my room with my wife," Florian added as he stood, a moronic grin upon his face, "and we'll both be naked. Good night, children! May your night be not quite as fun as mine!"

And with that, he was gone. Good fucking riddance, Aldhein thought bitterly to himself.

With a quick shrug, Alsina sidled between the couches and stopped right in front of him, rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet. Aldhein rolled his eyes, if only to distract them from her breasts. "Shouldn't you be going to bed?"

"I'm not tired," she assured him.

"But you are drunk," he replied, noting her unbalanced stance. "Maybe you should take the couch; I doubt you'll be able to make it up the stairs."

Alsina gasped. "I am not drunk! I'm... dancing."

She began to wave her arms about, her hips swaying like a pendulum. She was fourteen and a friend's sister; Aldhein was both appalled and horrified.

And yet, he could not look away.

"Seriously," he whispered, struggling to keep his eyes on her face. "Go--to--bed."

She merely giggled. "Who do you think you are? My father?"

I could be, Aldhein scolded himself. This was almost painful; he was too young to be a dirty old man!

"Dance with me!" she urged him. "You know you want to!"

But I don't want to want to...

"You're no fun!"

He was grateful that no fire had been lit; he could nearly see through the nightgown as it was and did not think he could handle any more of a view.

"Aldhein!"

He'd been trying so hard not to look at her that he hadn't even noticed she was now sitting on his lap. Perhaps it might have been safer to just head home after all. "Aldhein... why won't you dance with me?"

She was close enough to kiss, and it was getting to be increasingly hard to resist doing just that. He was going straight to hell. "Uh... I have two left feet."

"That's perfect! I have two right feet!"

She had two right everything. He couldn't help himself; for what seemed like the first time in years, he smiled.

"You know... you are without peer," he informed her. "Now, go to bed."

"No!"

"Oh, for the love of God!"

Aldhein froze. He hadn't spoken--and neither had Alsina.

"Do you two mind?" Florian snarled through gritted teeth. "You're keeping my baby awake with your chatter--and as long as he's awake, Thetis is going to be trying to get him to sleep, and by the time he finally closes his little eyes, she's going to be too tired for sex. Seriously, I'm letting you stay here for the night out of the goodness of my heart, so kindly stop interfering with the conception of my next child! By the way, Alsina... you should really put a robe on. It's just not decent, standing around a sitting room practically naked! God!"

NEXT CHAPTER:

10 comments:

Dinuriel said...

Uh... family trees, character profiles, and the directory are going to be outdated for a few more hours, since I have to rush out to rehearsal. Sorry for the inconvenience :(

Dinuriel said...

Aaaaand we are now back in business :)

Also, one quick administrative note. If anyone sees any line of dialogue in any present, past, or future post that strikes you as funny/profound/otherwise noteworthy, please let me know so I can put it in that character's "Quotes" section on their bio (er... providing that the character's bio is actually up. I'm a little behind with those). It's one of those things that's usually waaaaay at the back of my mind, and I'm probably not the best judge of lines I wrote myself anyway.

Thanks for your help :D

Phoenix said...

FLORIAN!!!!! ♥♥♥ I've missed you!!!

Alsina... you should really put a robe on. It's just not decent, standing around a sitting room practically naked! God!

LMAO!! Hahahaha!!! Oh Florian!!! You are the last person that I ever thought would say that! That line was so made of win Van!!

Ohh...I sense some drama coming with Aldein and Alsina! I like this glimpse into his personality. We never really got to see him. All we know is that he was banging the old queen...but who wasn't?

*sigh* It was good to see Florian again! He never fails to amuse me!

Dinuriel said...

Thanks Phoenix :)

I've been going through some serious Florian withdrawal myself. I figured... well, if I don't have a storyline for him at the moment, why not just throw him into someone else's post? :D

Aldhein is one of those characters I always meant to do more with, but ended up putting on the back burner to keep the story moving more quickly. I'd meant to drag out the whole thing with Geneva in more detail, but obviously that didn't happen :P I think most people forgot about him between his first two appearances and the post with Eilyssa's birth.

Heheheh... glad the post contained sufficient levels of Florian! Hopefully we will actually see him again sooner than I think we will :)

Penelope said...

I. Cracked. Up. Oh Florian.

For Florian's quotes, I nominate, "What kind is it?" which I believe he asked when he was handed his first child with Thetis.

Ok, I know it was the times but this chapter could have easily been a scene from Lolita. I mean, she was very distinctly behaving like a child because she is very distinctly a child (and a drunken child at that) but Aldhein's eyes were still very distinctly glued to her chest.

Dinuriel said...

Ah, the classic "What kind is it?". I'll get right on that :)

Not going to argue there. She is very, very fourteen and he is very, very twenty-eight. If she was a few years older, it might have been less creepy, but... well, she's not a few years older. It was definitely creepy, and Aldhein is rather painfully aware of that. Alsina, on the other hand, probably won't remember this in the morning--and if she does, well, she's kind of a wild one anyway, so I wouldn't be too worried about her well-being after this single incident.

Of course, if he started stalking her or something, then I'd definitely be worried... but I doubt that's going to happen. If anything, he'll be avoiding her (and scary big brother Falidor, as weird as that sounds to you and me) like the plague--the whole thing freaked him out a lot more than it did her. I hope that came across in the post.

Eh. At least we got some Florian :)

Verity said...

Haha... coins getting wedged in various places! I love Florian... he cracks me up so much. Haha! Cracks!

And not decent standing around in a sitting room. That man is wonderful.

Looks like things aren't working out so well with "yeah... I'm fifteen, I can take care of the family" thing. I agree with Penelope... it really could have been from Lolita.

Dinuriel said...

Florian could appear in every post and he'd still be in short supply :)

Yeah, Ceidrid really wasn't prepared for it, even though it was the family's best option. As for Alsina, I kind of have to wonder what was running through her head during this post. Whenever I do a follow-up here, it'll probably be from her point of view, so I guess we'll see.

Singer said...

Lol we really do need more Florian! He should have at least one POV every four posts!!!!

Dinuriel said...

I really need to think of another storyline for him soon... :P